Drunk and asleep in car

How Does Physical Control Affect a DUI?

Understanding the Concept of Physical Control DUI

Being arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) does not always necessarily mean that the car is currently in the action of being driven when the defendant is arrested.

In fact, many times, someone can be arrested for a DUI even though he or she was not driving. A person can be arrested under RCW 46.61.504 for physical control of a vehicle while under the influence.

What Does the Law Say?

Under RCW 46.61.504, a person can still be arrested for a DUI for having physical control over a vehicle while under the influence if the following circumstances apply.

The person must have actual physical control of the car or other motor vehicle while under the influence of any intoxicating liquor or drug and:

  1. The person has, within two hours of being in actual physical control of the vehicle, an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher as shown by analysis of the person’s breath or blood; or
  2. The person has, within two hours after being in actual physical control of a vehicle, a THC concentration of 5.00 or higher as shown by analysis of the person’s blood; or
  3. While the person is under the influence of or affected by intoxicating liquor or any drug; or
  4. While the person is under the combined influence of or is affected by intoxicating liquor and any drug.

What Is Physical Control?

No official jury instruction is provided on defining what actual physical control is. However, it can be determined from the circumstances at the time of the person’s arrest.

A person can be charged with being in physical control if that person is sitting in the driver’s seat of the car. But the person can also be in the passenger seat or even backseat.

If the individual has the keys to get in the driver’s seat and turn on the car and operate it, he or she can be determined to be in actual physical control. If the car is running, that fact can help further this determination.

Where the car is located at the time of the arrest can also be used to determine whether the person is in actual physical control. On occasion, defendants have been arrested for physical control even when they are not physically in the vehicle.

What Are the Defenses to a Physical Control DUI?

Several defenses exist for fighting a charge of physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence. One such affirmative defenses is being safely off the roadway. Under RCW 46.61.504(2), no person may be convicted of physical control DUI if prior to being pursued by a law enforcement officer, the person has moved the vehicle safely off the roadway.

Where the car is located can determine just how safely it is off the roadway. Is the car in a parking lot, or is it in a shoulder, pulled off the road? Was the car still running when the police officer found it?

It is important to discuss the exact circumstances with a DUI defense attorney when preparing a defense. The key is to give enough facts to lead to any reasonable doubt that the person was in physical control of the vehicle after consuming alcohol or drugs.

Successfully proving a safely off the roadway defense can lead to the case either being dismissed or a not guilty verdict being received.

Another defense would be if the vehicle was not readily operable. Were the keys on the individual, or was he or she found in the car with the keys in another physical location? If the keys were nowhere near the person when he or she was found in the vehicle, a defense could be raised that just because the person was in the car structure itself does not mean that the person was in “physical control” over the vehicle.

The same would apply if the car was not drivable, meaning there was something wrong with the vehicle that would keep it from driving, such as no gas in the vehicle or the car’s engine was not working.

Again, these arguments are highly fact-specific and require the defendant to produce evidence to support his or her defense against the charge.

In addition, just as would be the case with any other DUI charge, defenses regarding the arrest, the test not being properly administered or any other factual circumstances that would lead a judge or jury to believe the person was not actually under the influence of alcohol or drugs would also help defeat a physical control DUI charge.

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If you have been charged or convicted of a DUI, the experienced defense attorneys at Durflinger Oliver & Associates can help. Call today to schedule your free consultation, 855-712-7371. Ask about our military discount and convenient payment plans.

Posted in DUI
Prisoner moving to work release

Who is Eligible for Work Release?

Work Release in Washington DUI Cases

Work release facilities are meant to provide a bridge for an individual between life in prison and being back in the community. Work release allows individuals to focus on their transition from incarceration to freedom, while helping them find and keep employment and develop other work and life skills.

The community supervises the work release employee with the help of the department of corrections (DOC). This step is normally the last one in the process before the terms of his or her incarceration are complete.

Work Release Eligibility

An individual who is incarcerated can be referred to the work release program, at least 12 months prior to their release date.

If an incarcerated person has six months left on his or her sentence, he or she may also be eligible to complete the remainder of this time in a work release facility; if the incarcerated person has a record of good behavior and has been assigned the “Minimum 1” custody level. There also must be availability for bed space at a work release facility.

During the time the person is on work release, they must abide by the rules of the program, and they must actively search for and retain employment. They will also be randomly drug tested for substance abuse and can only miss work for very limited circumstances. Any violation of these rules can result in the person being terminated from the program.

Work Release for a DUI

Work release is available for many criminal offenses, and this list includes a DUI. Work release can be an alternative to jail time because it allows the defendant to work during the day and report to the corrections facility in the evening after work. Essentially, it allows defendant’s facing time in custody the opportunity to keep their jobs

However, to qualify, the individual must be approved by the local corrections facility. The individual will also be “charged” by the day for the “opportunity to work.” In some counties, the person must be sentenced to a certain amount of jail time before that person can become eligible for work release.

In some locations, work release is not an option, leading to other options, such as electronic home monitoring and/or community service.

Traditionally, work release has been a steady alternative to serving a jail sentence. Especially if the sentence was a second or third offense and the individual is required to spend extensive time in custody; work release might enable this individual to keep their job.

However, work release has changed in recent years. More and more counties are claiming that higher costs are associated with work release which prohibits them from offering this possibility. It is for this reason that many jurisdictions are now beginning to no longer offer this option.

In 2017, the state legislature made major changes to the mandatory minimum sentencing laws. It was debated that the dwindling jurisdictions offering work release played a factor in these changes. Of these changes, if a person served an increased amount of his or her sentence on home detention, the mandatory jail sentence was reduced.

Individuals who were facing a conviction for a second DUI in a seven-year period faced a sentence of 30 to 45 days incarceration with 60 to 90 days of electronic home monitoring before the changes. However, that jail time can now be reduced to four to six days with the time of electronic home monitoring being increased to 180 days.

The individual can still apply to have the ability to continuing working outside of the home while on electronic home monitoring, similar to work release, but the facility or location where the person is staying has now been changed to the person’s home, as monitored.

However, while the cost for keeping the person in the jail facility has been reduced, the amount of time that he or she will be on electronic home monitoring comes with its own added costs.

Certain jurisdictions still offer work-release, but their locations are less and less and have certain limiting factors. To discuss how work release or working while under electronic home monitoring would work on your case, it is recommended that you speak with a DUI defense attorney.

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Posted in DUI
Distracted woman driving while texting

How Does Washington’s Tough Stance on Drivers Affect Safety

Washington State Reported as State with One of Lowest DUI Death Rates

For licensed Washington drivers, staying safe while behind the wheel is extremely important, especially when it comes to impaired or intoxicated driving.

The numbers certainly show this fact as Washington state has recently been ranked as one of the 10 states with the lowest rate of deaths resulting from intoxicated, drugged or impaired driving. This new ranking comes from a report recently issued by the National Highway Safety Administration (NHSA).

This NHSA report was published on Safewise, an independent review site. According to the report which relied on recent U.S. Census government data, Washington State reported 2.55 impaired driving deaths per 100,000 population. This rate was lower than 43 other states and ranked as the seventh best state overall.

Washington’s Tough Stance on DUI and Distracted Driving

Many experts attributed this low rate of DUI fatalities to the Washington state’s tough stance on impaired, intoxicated, and distracted driving that has been developing over recent years; led by the state legislature, the Washington State Patrol, and local police departments.

One thing for sure is that drivers in Washington need to exercise caution and restraint while driving on the road.

For instance, many pointed to Washington State’s new law on distracted driving as showing just how serious the state takes the safety of its residents on the road. This new law prohibited a number of activities beyond texting and driving, including simply holding a personal electronic device, as well as eating or applying make-up while driving.

For drivers in Washington, this means that the state and local police departments are cracking down on intoxicated or impaired driving. They have developed a no-tolerance stance when it comes to operating a vehicle after drinking or ingesting any illegal drugs, as well as picking up the phone while operating a vehicle.

How Does Washington Compare

Washington is not alone in its efforts. Other states with lower rates have also enacted legislation to crackdown on impaired or distracted driving.

The report also stated that the state with the highest rate of impaired driving deaths was Montana. Surprisingly, the Big Sky state reported 9.15 fatalities for every 100,000 individuals.

South Carolina and North Dakota are next up on the list with the highest number of fatalities for every 100,000 individuals.

However, the State of New York was reported as having the lowest rate of impaired driving deaths. New York’s rate is 1.65 fatalities for every 100,000 individuals.

One would assume that a higher population means a higher rate of DUI fatalities, but the statistical evidence shows this is not the case. Montana, is a state known for its lower population and was reported as the state with the highest fatality rate; while New York, is a state known for its dense population and was reported as the lowest on the list of DUI fatalities.

One interesting characteristic shared by three of the worst five states for DUI fatalities was that these states did not require installation of ignition interlock devices for drivers who were convicted of a DUI.

Another interesting correlation has been made between residents using ride-sharing services, such as Uber and Lyft, and a lower rate of DUI and impaired driving accidents. Many residents in the states with the lower rates have reported frequent use of ride sharing in lieu of driving while intoxicated. As a result, Safewise has offered gift certificates for these ride sharing services for residents in any of the states with the worst reported rates.

Other organizations are taking these statistics and trying to effect change in the states with the higher rates of DUI fatalities. For instance, as a result of this report, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) has designated Montana as the state where it needs to do the most work when it comes to cracking down on drunk driving.

The states with the highest rate of fatalities per 100,000 were:

  1. Montana with a rate of 9.15
  2. South Carolina with a rate of 7.98
  3. North Dakota with a rate of 7.10

The states with the lowest rate of fatalities per 100,000 were:

  1. New York with a rate of 1.65
  2. Utah with a rate of 1.94
  3. New Jersey with a rate of 1.97

It is the hope that the states with the higher rates of deaths due to intoxicated or impaired driving will find ways to reduce these numbers, following suit along with states like Washington, and making roads safer for everyone.

Whether those laws crack down solely on intoxication or impairment but also distracted driving, or whether organizations and law enforcement encourage the use of ride sharing services more and more, it is hoped that changes will be made for the future.

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Posted in DUI
Happy man celebrating DUI appeal

How do you Appeal a DUI Conviction?

Appealing a DUI Conviction

The State of Washington has strict driving under the influence (DUI) laws. If someone is convicted of a DUI, it should be assumed that the penalties will be harsh.

This is why if someone believes he or she has been wrongfully convicted of a DUI, it is important that that person files an appeal as soon as possible. Filing an appeal is not an easy process and the deadline is strict, which means an attorney needs to be retained as soon as possible.

One reason an individual who is wrongfully convicted of a DUI may want to appeal that conviction is the fact that, if a later conviction is received, the penalties become more and more extreme.

In the State of Washington, a driver who operates a motor vehicle with a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher can be found guilty of a DUI. The percentage starts at 0.02 for drivers under the age of 21 and 0.04 for truck drivers.

The penalties for DUI offenses are as follows:

  • First DUI: If convicted, the maximum penalty is up to 364 days in jail and pay up to $5,000 in fines, can have his or her driving privileges suspended anywhere between 90 days and one year, and may be required to install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) on their vehicle;
  • Second DUI in 7 years: If this is a second DUI in 7 years, there is a minimum penalty of 30 days mandatory in jail AND 60 days of mandatory electronic home monitoring (EHM) for a DUI with a BAC of below.15, for a DUI with a BAC above .15 there is a minimum penalty of 45 days mandatory in jail AND 90 days of mandatory electronic home monitoring, the fine can be up to $5,000, installation of an IID will be required, and a license suspension period of up to 900 days;
  • Third DUI in 7 years: If this is a third DUI in 7 years, there is a minimum of 90 days in jail AND 120 days EHM for a BAC of below .15, and if the BAC is above .15 it is a minimum of 120 days in jail AND 150 days of EHM, up to $5,000 in fines, a mandatory IID installation and potentially a 10 year license restriction by the Department of Licensing.

Depending on the facts surrounding the stop, the arrest and the case in general, there could be factors that merit an appeal or post-judgment motion. If that is the case, it is important that the convicted individual contact an attorney immediately.

Right to Appeal

If someone has been convicted of a crime in either state or federal court, that person has the right to appeal the conviction.

To appeal a state misdemeanor conviction, an appeal will need to be filed in the Superior Court of the county where the case was heard. To appeal a federal conviction, this appeal will need to be filed in the United States Court of Appeals.

Appealing the Conviction Versus Appealing the License Suspension

Two different appeals options exist when it comes to a DUI case. Appealing a DUI conviction is a different process from appealing the license suspension decided by the state’s Department of Licensing (DOL). An attorney can assist the individual in both appeals, but they do require two different procedures.

How Does an Appeal Work?

An appeal is the procedure where a party who receives an unfavorable verdict in trial court can have a court review the original trial court’s decision. The appeal is a review of the evidence and the court’s decision based on that evidence, but in a higher court. An appeal is not a retrial of all the evidence. The appeal can be based on a procedural error made in court, but also substantive issues based on the law. An appeal must be made from a final judgment, and it is a highly technical process.

Very few pro se litigants are able to handle an appeal on their own so an attorney should be consulted if an appeal is being considered.

To file an appeal, the individual must file a notice of appeal and must pay the required fees. The appealing party will need to designate what records need to be reviewed by the court and will need to pay for the transcripts to produce these records.

Both sides will have a chance to prepare briefs in support of their arguments. Once all briefs have been received, the court will allow for oral arguments. Following consideration of all briefs and arguments, the appeals court will issue its written opinion.

If the individual gets an unfavorable opinion from the appeals court, at that point he or she may have limited options.

Normally, the appellate court, which would be the next step in the court hierarchy, would review the superior court’s opinion. After that, a person can appeal the matter to the State Supreme Court which only reviews select cases and issues. Normally, the supreme court will limit its review to important questions of law or to set a precedent if different courts of appeals are ruling inconsistently.

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If you have been charged or convicted of a DUI, the experienced defense attorneys at Durflinger Oliver & Associates can help. Call today to schedule your free consultation, 855-712-7371. Ask about our military discount and convenient payment plans.

Posted in DUI
Drinking on a boat

Boating Under the Influence in Washington State

Boating Under the Influence in Washington State

Operating any type of vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is considered a crime. This includes operating a boat while intoxicated.

In the State of Washington, Boating Under the Influence (BUI) is a gross misdemeanor. However, unlike other gross misdemeanors, a BUI conviction won’t result in a driver’s license suspensions.

If someone has been arrested for operating a boat after drinking or while under the influence, it helps to know what to expect and to know what their rights are.

Gross Misdemeanor Charge

Under RCW 79A.060.010(29), a vessel’s operator cannot have a breath or blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or greater. It is likewise illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a THC concentration of 5.00 or higher or while under the influence of marijuana or other intoxicants. Anyone who breaks the law is subject to arrest and prosecution.

An individual stopped in Washington State for a suspected BUI will face gross misdemeanor charges. The State imposes a minimum penalty for gross misdemeanor charges of zero to 364 days in jail, as well as a penalty up to $5,000.

During the stop, unlike a normal DUI, the boat driver is not under any obligation to submit to a breathalyzer test. In addition, unlike a normal DUI, there is no mandatory driver’s license suspension that accompanies a BUI.

If the individual facing a potential BUI charge has no prior criminal history, it is likely that the charges can be reduced to a negligent boating charge. This is a much less severe offense as opposed to a gross misdemeanor.

BUI as a Prior Offense

Under the Washington State DUI sentencing laws, anyone who has a BUI conviction or reckless boating conviction on their record and is later convicted of a BUI will have that previous offense treated as a prior DUI.

The prior offense can also be used to enhance a later DUI offense. The penalties for that later DUI will be increased significantly with this prior offense on the individual’s record.

State and Federal Offenses

One key factor to keep in mind with a BUI arrest is that the charge can be both state and federal. Boats that are on the open water are under the jurisdiction of both Washington State and federal law. What this means is that arrests can be made by local police, state police, as well as federal Coast Guard.

The law covers all “vessels,” which is a fairly broad term and includes every description of watercraft, including seaplanes. However, it does not include flotation devices, inner tubes, sailboards and smaller rafts used by swimmers.

BUI Versus DUI

Unlike a DUI, the BUI conviction does not carry mandatory consequences with respect to the person’s operator’s license. Because of this, someone cannot lose his or her license after being arrested for and later convicted of a BUI.

If someone has a Captain’s License, a BUI conviction can end up being grounds for denial of a re-application for the Captain’s License down the road. 

A BUI will also not result in the individual having to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in their vehicle. Likewise, there is no ignition interlock license (IIL) requirement. The judge has some discretion to make whatever rulings he or she wishes, which means the judge can order an IID, but no statutory requirement exists.

If the driver of the boat is arrested for a BUI and refuses either the breath or blood test, no automatic consequence exists that would harm that person’s driver’s license on an administrative level.

However, despite the fact that the mandatory consequences that go along with a DUI offense are not there for a BUI, this does not mean that a BUI is not a serious crime. It is still a gross misdemeanor and is still a crime.

Therefore, if you are arrested for a BUI, it is important that a criminal defense attorney be contacted. It is important that the individual arrested know what his or her rights are, as well as what the consequences are for the particular crime. 

A defense attorney can not only explain these important points but can also work with the individual on a possible defense to fight the crime or at least reduce the charge to a lesser one.

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If you’ve been detained or arrested, the experienced defense attorneys at Durflinger Oliver & Associates can help. Call today to schedule your free consultation, 855-712-7371. Ask about our military discount and convenient payment plans.

Posted in DUI

5 Myths About DUIs

Common DUI Myths

A lot is at risk following a DUI arrest. The arrested person may lose his or her driver’s license, face fines, and could even go to jail.

Someone facing a DUI charge will likely have a lot of questions. Most people have no idea what to expect and rely on the advice of friends and family. Some of these friends and relatives may have faced similar charges or may simply know someone who knows someone who once was arrested for a DUI.

As a result, there are a lot of misconceptions out there. The following explore a few of the more common DUI myths.

Myth 1: Breathalyzer or Blood Alcohol Tests Cannot be Fought

After being pulled over for a DUI, it is likely the driver will have to submit to a breathalyzer test or blood alcohol test.

If the results show that the driver is over the legal limit, many people believe that they cannot fight these results. As a result, they mistakenly resign themselves to the idea that their legal matter is doomed from the start. That is actually not the case.

If the tests were not administered properly, the court can kick out the test results. Likewise, if the person’s rights were violated during the test, the defense can ask that the court suppress the evidence. If the judge agrees then the prosecution cannot use the evidence.

In addition, a good defense attorney can find other weaknesses in the prosecution’s case to go against that evidence to either get the charges reduced or to have the case dismissed.

Myth 2: Field Sobriety Tests Are Mandatory

Another common myth is that an individual must comply when asked to perform a field sobriety test. Under Washington State law, these tests are voluntary. Therefore, if the police officer asks the driver to exit his or her vehicle to perform a Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFST), the driver can simply refuse.

Although, the police officer is under a legal obligation to inform the driver that the SFST is voluntary, they way that they say it is usually confusing. Some officers actually lie to drivers to have them believe it is required, when, in fact, it is not.

Keep in mind, the voluntary aspect applies to the FSTs and answering questions. You have to take the breath test given at the police station or jail or you will lose your license for at least one year.

Myth 3: DUI Only Involves Alcohol

Another misconception is that someone can only be guilty of a DUI if he or she was under the influence of alcohol. However, RCW 46.61.502 states that a DUI means the person was driving under the influence of “intoxicating liquor, marijuana or drug.”

In addition, the person does not need to have a blood alcohol concentration of over the 0.08 legal limit or 5.00 THC limit to be convicted of a DUI. The person also does not need to be above the legal limit necessarily to be arrested.

So long as the person was affected by or under the influence of alcohol, marijuana or another drug, that could be sufficient evidence to demonstrate that he or she is guilty of a DUI. “Buzzed” driving qualifies as a DUI as much as drunk driving.

Myth 4: Being the Designated Driver Means You Are Safe

Say someone is out to dinner or for drinks with friends. After a couple of hours, the person who had the least amount of drinks is chosen as the “designated driver” to take everyone home.

However, also say that same person was pulled over and arrested for a DUI. If he or she was chosen as the “designated driver,” that does not mean that he or she was the sober driver.

There is a distinct difference between the two categories. Being called the designated driver is a good idea if that person has not had anything to drink that night. No one should be a designated driver if they’ve had anything at all to drink.

Myth 5: A Clean Record Means the Driver Is in the Clear

Many times, a person who has been arrested for a DUI for the first time may believe he or she will not receive harsh penalties for the DUI offense. After all, if they have never been in trouble before, the judge will go easy on them, right?

The problem is the state has issued “mandatory minimum” punishments for a DUI offense. These punishments are required regardless of whether the defendant has a good record.

The only way to avoid receiving these punishments is to not be found guilty of the crime. Otherwise, very little discretion is given to the judge for issuing these punishments.

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Posted in DUI
Worried Man

What Administrative Penalties Could You Have to Pay After a DUI Arrest?

After someone has been arrested for a driving under the influence (DUI) charge, that person may assume that he or she will only be hit with penalties coming from the criminal justice system. While he or she may be facing some criminal charges, administrative penalties will also follow any DUI arrest.

What Administrative Penalties Are Assessed?

After the DUI arrest, the police officer is required to notify the DOL of any test results that were 0.08 or higher for drivers who are 21-years-old or older. If the driver is underaged, the officer is required to notify the DOL if the results are 0.02 or higher. If the driver is operating a commercial vehicle, the officer is required to notify the DOL if the breath test result was 0.04 or higher.

The Department of Licensing (DOL) assesses penalties that are separate from the actual DUI criminal case. The only chance the defendant will have to fight these penalties is through an administrative hearing.

At the time of the stop and/or arrest, the police officer will likely provide the form need to make this appeal. If one was not received, it can be requested from the DOL.

A license can be suspended anywhere from 90 days to two years, depending on the circumstances of the case. These administrative penalties apply even if the person is eventually found not guilty of a DUI.

The DOL will automatically suspend or revoke the person’s license unless a hearing is requested to contest the suspension within 20 days of the arrest.

A hearing fee does come along with a hearing. And if the hearing officer decides in the driver’s favor but the court still finds him or her guilty of a DUI, the license will be suspended as a result of the criminal conviction.

90-Day Driver’s License Suspension

If the individual was arrested with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher, and the person had no prior administrative suspensions, his or her license will be suspended for 90 days.

The DOL will not issue that person’s license back to him or her unless the car the arrested individual drives is equipped with an ignition interlock device.

The driver must also file a “proof of financial responsibility,” also known as SR-22 insurance with the DOL before the ignition interlock license will be issued. The driver should expect to hold the SR-22 insurance for three years following the license reinstatement.

One-Year Driver’s License Suspension

If the driver had no prior DUI administrative suspensions, his or her driver’s license will be suspended for a period of one year. The driver may be eligible to apply for installation of an ignition interlock device and an ignition interlock license.

The driver must also file a “proof of financial responsibility” or SR-22 insurance with the DOL, and this SR-22 insurance will be required for three years after the driver’s license was reinstated.

Two-Year Driver’s License Suspension

If this is the second administrative suspension within a seven-year period, the person’s license will be revoked for two years. The driver will be eligible for an ignition interlock license, but this will not be issued until the car the person drives is equipped with a proper ignition interlock device.

The driver must also file proof of financial responsibility or SR-22 insurance before the license will be issued. The SR-22 license is required for three years following reinstatement. But for the driver’s license to be fully reinstated, he or she will need to retake the driver’s test and pay a reinstatement fee.

SR-22 Insurance

For all of the above penalties, SR-22 insurance is mentioned. SR-22 insurance is known as “high risk” insurance. It is a statutory requirement for drivers who pose a high risk to the safety of others in the community. Premiums that come with SR-22 insurance tend to be much higher than standard insurance.

Even if the driver is acquitted of the DUI charge, he or she may still suffer an administrative license suspension, and the SR-22 insurance may still be required.

Probationary License

After an individual has completed his or her DUI-related license suspension or revocation period, a certain “probationary” license period may be required before fully driver’s privileges are reinstated.

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Drunk Driver

What is SR22 Insurance?

Following an arrest for a driving under the influence (DUI) charge, the individual facing the charges will then have to face a number of administrative penalties and charges, as well.

One of these is obtaining an SR-22 in order to have his or her driving privileges reinstated. The concept is not really understood, however, so here are a few basic tips on what is involved and what should be understood before proceeding towards getting an SR-22.

What Is an SR-22?

Washington requires the SR-22 endorsement be placed on the driver’s car insurance policy for the driver to meet the state’s requirements. Essentially, the SR-22 form designates the driver as “high risk.”

An SR-22 is also referred to as SR-22 Insurance or Certificate of Financial Responsibility (CFR). While the SR-22 is referred to as insurance, it is not a type of car insurance. Rather, it is verification that the individual is maintaining car insurance liability coverage.

The SR-22 is a state-mandated form that is filed by the individual’s insurance carrier through the Washington Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

When is an SR-22 Needed?

An SR-22 will be required when a driver who was in an accident or has been convicted of a traffic violation cannot show financial responsibility. If a person is caught driving without car insurance and is subsequently arrested, he or she may need an SR-22.

He or she may also need an SR-22 for any of the following:

  • A driving under the influence (DUI) offense or any other serious moving violation;
  • When the accident was the fault of the driver;
  • A repeat offense or too many tickets within a short period of time; or
  • Driving on a revoked or suspended license.

Types of SR-22 Endorsements

Three different types of SR-22 endorsements are available.

  1. The owner’s certificate is one form that is proof that all cars owned by the driver are covered by the insurance.
  2. Another form, the operator’s certificate, is proof of financial responsibility for situations when the driver does not own a car.
  3. The last type is the owner-operator certificate, which is proof of financial responsibility for all vehicles that are either owned by the driver or not owned by the driver but still used by him or her.

Washington SR-22 insurance requires the driver to carry the following limits on liability:

  • $25,000 for bodily injury/person;
  • $50,000 for bodily injury/ accident; and
  • $10,000 for property damage.

Cost of an SR-22

The costs of an SR-22 varies by the state, but car insurance companies will normally charge an initial fee of $15 to $25 for the filing of the SR-22 form.

If the driver needs an SR-22, he or she will need to first purchase a car insurance policy. The amount of the policy depends on a number of factors. Since car insurance carriers will view the driver needing the SR-22 as a risk, the rates will likely be high in lieu of that information.

The increase in rate can be just a few hundred dollars for an individual’s personal auto policy to thousands of dollars if the policy is commercial auto.

How Long Does Someone Need an SR-22?

After the policy is prepared and the processing fee paid, a copy of the SR-22 insurance will be sent to the DOL by the insurance company. The State of Washington requires drivers to carry the SR-22 for three years (36 consecutive months).

The driver will be responsible for renewing the policy at least 15 days before it expires. Otherwise, the car insurance company is legally required to notify the DMV and the driver’s license will be suspended.

Washington State will reinstate the driver’s license after the policy is eventually renewed. To avoid this issue, it is always recommended that the individual renew his or her policy at least 45 days before it expires.

Can an SR-22 Be Avoided?

Many drivers wish to avoid having to file an SR-22. In some situations, the State of Washington allows drivers the possibility to deposit $60,000 to the Washington State Treasurer’s office to avoid the SR-22 insurance.

Another alternative is for the driver to get a surety bond from a surety company that is licensed in the State of Washington to put forward the money to avoid this requirement. Speak with an attorney experienced in DUI law to discuss the possible options available.

Contact Us Today!

If you’ve been detained or arrested, the experienced defense attorneys at Durflinger Oliver & Associates can help. Call today to schedule your free consultation, 855-712-7371. Ask about our military discount and convenient payment plans

Posted in DUI
Man Considering Driving Drunk

Penalties for a First Time DUI Offense

No one wants to be pulled over for a driving under the influence (DUI) offense. But when it happens, it can be stressful and intimidating, especially if this is the person’s first offense. It helps to know what to expect when facing a first time DUI offense in the State of Washington.

What Is a DUI?

As stated before, a DUI means driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In Washington, it is against the law to drive or be in actual physical control of a vehicle while either under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Someone can be convicted of a DUI for driving or being in actual physical control of a vehicle while one or more of the following applies:

  • If the person is impaired by alcohol or drugs to the point where his or her “ability to drive a motorized vehicle is affected to an applicable degree,” which is known as DUI “affected by” or an “impairment” DUI;
  • If the person has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher, which is known as a “per se” DUI; or
  • If the person has a concentration of five nanograms or more of THC per milliliter in his or her blood, which is known as a “per se” marijuana DUI. THC is the primary psychoactive ingredient found in marijuana.

If the individual refuses chemical testing, whether blood or breath, he or she will be found to be violating Washington State’s implied consent laws, and he or she may face a greater penalty. This is known as a DUI Refusal.

A DUI offense where the person has a BAC of .15 or higher also faces harsher consequences. Both of these factors are said to aggravate the circumstances of the DUI.

First-Time DUI Administrative Penalties

An individual facing a DUI offense will deal with penalties from the criminal justice system, as well as administrative penalties. These administrative penalties are those issued by the Washington State Department of Licensing. Some of these penalties are automatically triggered by the arrest itself. This means they happen regardless of whether the person is ever convicted of a DUI criminally. For a first-time DUI offense, the administrative penalties include:

  • Per Se Marijuana and Per Se Alcohol: Drivers who qualify for per se marijuana or alcohol offenses, meaning they have a BAC of higher than 0.08 or a THC concentration of at least five nanograms per milliliter of blood, will normally have a 90-day license suspension period.
  • Refusal to Take Chemical Test: If the driver refuses to take a chemical test, he or she will normally face a one-year administrative license suspension or revocation period.

If the driver is actually convicted of a DUI, the driver will likely be required to have an ignition interlock device (IID) installed on his or her car for a period of at least one year.

If the driver who is facing a first-time DUI had a passenger under the age of 16 years old in the car at the time of the offense, he or she will be required to have the IID installed for at least 18 months.

First-Time Criminal DUI Penalties

In addition to the administrative penalties, the defendant may also be facing criminal charges for the DUI. If convicted of a DUI, the penalties include:

  • When a driver is convicted of a per se marijuana offense, a per se alcohol offense with a BAC under 0.15 or a DUI impairment first-offense, the individual is said to be guilty of a “gross misdemeanor.” This means the person will face a penalty of one to 364 days in jail, or a period of at least 15 days of electronic home monitoring, or 90 days participation in a sobriety program. Criminal fines also can range from $550 to $5,000 in fines and fees, on top of the administrative driver’s license suspension.
  • If the driver refused to take the chemical test or tested at a BAC of 0.15 or higher, and that person is convicted of a first-time DUI, the person is also said to be guilty of a gross misdemeanor. The penalties can include two to 364 days in jail, or a period of 30 days of electronic home monitoring, 120 days in a 24/7 sobriety program, and fines and fees ranging from $700 to $5,000, on top of a driver’s license suspension of one year.

Depending on the facts of the case, it is possible the judge may order the offender to also participate and complete an educational or substance abuse treatment program.

If a minor under the age of 16 was also present at the time of the offense, the judge may impose additional jail time or increase the fines and fees imposed.

Will Jail Time Actually Happen?

Any time jail time is mentioned, stress will likely ensue. However, if jail time is a part of the sentence, how much will actually be served, if any at all?

Many times, the statute may say that a minimum sentence will be served, but some factors, such as credits for good behavior and jail-alternative programs may off-set that time that is actually served.

The defense attorney can work with the defendant to see how jail time can be reduced or even avoided, if at all possible.

Contact Us Today!

If you’ve been detained or arrested, the experienced defense attorneys at Durflinger Oliver & Associates can help. Call today to schedule your free consultation, 855-712-7371. Ask about our military discount and convenient payment plans.

Posted in DUI
Driver arrested for DUI

What Happens After You Get a DUI?

After being pulled over for suspicion of a DUI, the person suspected of the DUI can reach a state of panic and wonder: “What is going to happen to me?” Unless a person is a regular in the criminal justice system, he or she is not likely to know what to expect when it comes to the criminal process.

Following the Arrest

After the person has been arrested, following being read their constitutional rights, the suspect will be brought to the police station where he or she will undergo a breath test. Sometimes, if the person is not capable of providing a breath test, he or she may receive a blood test.

It is possible the individual will be kept overnight and released upon certain circumstances or conditions. Sometimes, the person may be booked into jail. Alternatively, the person may be booked and released but told to return for an arraignment.

Post-Arrest Investigation

Following the arrest, if the person gave a breath test, he or she will be given a ticket showing the results. If the suspect took a blood test, it may take a couple weeks to a couple of months before those results will be processed and sent to the individual by the Washington State Toxicology Lab.

The arresting officer will be collecting additional evidence to support the case after the arrest. Criminal charges can happen immediately or within a few days following the arrest, sometimes even months.

If the officer’s report shows that enough evidence is there to charge the suspect with an official DUI charge, a complaint is filed with the court. Then the court will send the suspect a summons to appear in court, which is essentially a notice of the court date.

Arraignment

The first hearing following an arrest is called the arraignment. If the suspect is in police custody following the arrest, he or she will be brought before a judge or magistrate within 24 hours of his or her arrest and being brought into police custody. If the person is released after the arrest, a summons with the arraignment will be given at a later date.

During the arraignment hearing, the court gives the conditions of the suspect’s release. These conditions normally include following the law, a prohibition of alcohol or non-prescription drug consumption and a promise to appear at all future dates before the court.

Depending on the offense, the judge may also order the suspect to install an ignition interlock device on any car he or she drives, or to be restricted to electronic home monitoring. The judge may also determine bail.

Many factors play into setting these conditions, including the BAC level of the results, whether that person has a prior history of DUI, or whether anyone was hurt or killed in an accident connected to the DUI. The arraignment is also when the defendant will enter the official plea of not guilty or guilty, after he or she indicates whether the nature of the charges is understood.

Pre-Trial Conference

Sometime after the arraignment, a pre-trial conference will be set. This court date is for negotiations between the prosecution and defense.

Attorneys will work out any questions regarding evidence, witness availability or schedule conflicts. But most importantly, during these pre-trial conferences, attorneys will try to work out an agreement or settlement. Plea deals or offers are normally discussed at this time.

However, if negotiations are not successful, the judge will set the date for trial during the pre-trial hearing.

Hearing

If no plea agreement is reached, a hearing or trial will be held. Normally, the arresting officer is required to attend and will testify.

The defendant’s attorney will have the chance to cross-examine the officer and any other prosecution witnesses. The defense attorney will also have the chance to present the case against the DUI charges. The defense will have a chance to fight the evidence submitted, trying to poke holes in the results of any blood alcohol results.

After all evidence is presented, both sides will be able to give a final closing legal argument to support their position.

The defendant will have the option of choosing between a trial by jury or a bench trial, which means the judge is the individual making the decision. The defense attorney will be able to advise what is best depending on the circumstances. Many times, it is best to do a bench trial rather than have six jurors make the decision. Ultimately it depends on the case’s specific facts.

At the end of the trial, the jury or the judge will make the decision on whether the defendant is guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol.

Sentencing

If the defendant is convicted of the DUI charge, or even if he or she accepts a plea for a reduced charge, the next step is sentencing by the judge. The defendant will have the constitutional right to address the court if he or she believes, after advice from the defense attorney, that it will positively affect the Judge’s decision on sentencing.

Contact Us Today!

If you’ve been detained or arrested, the experienced defense attorneys at Durflinger Oliver & Associates can help. Call today to schedule your free consultation, 855-712-7371. Ask about our military discount and convenient payment plans.

Posted in DUI

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